the short story project

The Little Angel’s Exhumation

Dvora Negbi On:

The Little Angel’s Exhumation by Mariana Enríquez

I believe Mariana Enriquez. She opens a door to the worlds she has created and leads me straight into them, without the preamble of access roads, lobbies and hallways, without letting me feel that she has tidied up in my honor, that she is hiding something. Her writing is revealing, but it is not the confessional, the emotional, superfluous type of revealing. Her words are measured, they have value and beauty, they reveal the depths of the soul with the laser scalpel of a surgeon, or a poet. Her descriptions are not verbose, conventional adornments that you feel like skimming through. In this story, “The Little Angel’s Exhumation,” the descriptions are what pulled me in.
I trusted the narrator who tells the story from the first moment. How could I not believe someone who describes so convincingly her childhood soul? Someone who, like me, believed in her childhood—or wanted to believe—that the small and allegedly insignificant object she found in the garden were treasures from the past, or who, like me, still remembers in her adulthood their materiality—their textures, their colors, their transparency?
Extend the storyteller the trusting hand of a child, and she will take you beyond childhood and show you fear in a handful of dust, as the narrator in T. S. Eliot’s poem, The Waste Land, promises to do. She will show you dead who do not know their place, like the corpse in Eliot’s poem, who was planted last year in the garden and this year will perhaps sprout or bloom. Throughout the story, the storyteller will test your trust. Will you be able to stop thinking, in her words, “in terms of what was really possible and what was not”? I’m not sure, but I’m fairly certain you will fall in love.